Editor's & Publisher's Note: Growing Up
As Streaming Media magazine expands into Europe, its editor and publisher look back at its past an forward to its future.
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You hold in your hands the inaugural issue of Streaming Media magazine’s European Edition, the first magazine in Europe devoted to covering the entirety of the online video market, from entertainment to enterprise to education.

As you are probably aware, the Streaming Media brand has been covering online video since 1998. What you may not know is the story behind the property. First launched privately in the U.S., grown internationally, and acquired by Penton Media, Streaming Media has always been the leading resource for anything and everything associated with online video. Bill Gates was even the keynote speaker at the Streaming Media West show in 1999, introducing this cool thing called "Windows Media". After the dot-com bubble burst, Information Today, Inc., the current owner, took on Streaming Media in 2002 to rebuild it to where it was in its heyday.

So here we are, 10 years later, building our strong presence in Europe as a resource for producers and publishers of online video. 2008 marks our third Streaming Media Europe show in London on 15–17 October, the launch of our new Streaming Media Europe Blog (www.streamingmedia.com/europe/blog) and newsletters, the relaunch of the Streaming Media Global site (www.streamingmediaglobal.com), and the launch of the magazine you hold in your hands.

We know that many of you have followed a parallel course, having weathered the rise and stumble of streaming media after the turn of the century—it never really fell, thankfully—and now seeing the promise of online video that you believed in nearly 10 years ago finally come to be realized as technological and perceptual changes have made possible the renaissance we’re seeing today.

We also know that some of the people reading this are relatively new to the industry and are just beginning to explore the communications and revenue opportunities that streaming now offers. Whether you’re a veteran or a neophyte, however, we bring Streaming Media to Europe with the realisation that online video has reached the "tipping point" where, as Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his 2002 best-seller of the same name, "the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than possibility. It is—contrary to all our expectations—a certainty."

We’ve arrived at a point where video is no longer second or even third on the list of what people expect from the internet; it’s what’s been driving broadband adoption, and the rise in broadband adoption has finally made monetisation and even profitability not only a possibility but something approaching a certainty. A comScore survey from March of 2008 found that 81.2% of the U.K. internet audience watched online video, making for a total of 172 million hours of online video content viewed in that month. And that’s just in the U.K., and it doesn’t take into consideration the amount of corporate, education, and government video people are watching.

You’ll note we hedged a little bit by saying monetisation and profitability are "approaching certainty". To be sure, there’s still more money being spent than earned on online video, but even though the venture capital money is flowing freely, it’s not flowing nearly so recklessly as it did in 2000. When investments are made today, they’re being made based upon not just compelling technology but upon solid business plans.

As the online video community—be it enterprise, entertainment, or education—grows globally, we hope you'll find Streaming Media magazine’s European Edition an invaluable resource for keeping abreast of the latest trends and challenges. It should help you learn how to best exploit the latest technological advances in your business and discover how to maximise your return on investment.

That’s why, in this inaugural issue, you’ll find in-depth, how-to articles on Flash Video, Windows Media, and encoding for mobile devices as well as a discussion of the content delivery services market in Europe and an analysis of when it makes sense to use P2P versus traditional CDNs to deliver your content (and when it doesn’t). Plus, columns from some of the leaders in the European streaming media market help make sense of the challenges facing our industry today, including how to cope with increasing traffic and what we need to learn from the broadcast industry.

Our goal is to become the trusted resource in Europe on all things streaming, just as we’ve been in the U.S. since we launched the magazine there in 2006. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and criticisms at letters@streamingmedia.com, and we look forward to serving you in the years to come.